Treating PCOS: What Is PCOS?
I have been diagnosed that I have a Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) before I got pregnant of Little Zoie. After my pregnancy I didn’t know what happened to it not until I got it checked again last October last year.
As I was diagnosed again, it was unfortunate for me that my regular OB-GYNE doctor is set to fly to Canada that time so she referred me to a different doctor before she got to read my Transvaginal ultrasound. She said my PCOS is a good one since my menstrual cycle is still normal. A non-regular menstrual cycle means bad PCOS, it seems. So, she asked me if I wanted to treat my PCOS since I have good chances of getting pregnant again. She means taking birth control pills.
But before we go to birth control pills, I want to share more information about PCOS, also known by the name Stein-Leventhal syndrome.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a condition in which there is an imbalance of a woman’s female sex hormones. This hormone imbalance may cause several changes:
- menstrual cycle
- skin changes
- small cysts in the ovaries
- trouble getting pregnant
- and other serious problems such as diabetes and heart disease if not treated
PCOS is common, affecting as many as 1 out of 15 women. Often the symptoms begin in the teen years. Treatment can help control the symptoms and prevent long-term problems.
- It can be genetic (inherited) or by environmental factors such as change of your hormone levels.
- The eggs within the sacs of our ovaries do not mature and are not released can form very small cysts in the ovaries.
Changes in menstrual cycle.
- Absent periods, usually with a history of having one or more normal menstrual periods during puberty (secondary amenorrhea)
- Irregular menstrual periods, which may be more or less frequent, and may range from very light to very heavy.
Development of male sex characteristics (virilization):
- Decreased breast size
- Deepening of the voice
- Enlargement of the clitoris
- Increased body hair on the chest, abdomen, and face, as well as around the nipples (called hirsutism)
- Thinning of the hair on the head, called male-pattern baldness
Other skin changes:
- Acne that gets worse
- Dark or thick skin markings and creases around the armpits, groin, neck, and breasts due to insulin sensitivity
How they are diagnosed
See your doctor.
- Your doctor will ask series of health history, symptoms and menstrual cycle.
- Transvaginal ultrasound can see your small cysts. This is what my previous OB asked me to do to confirm that it is really PCOS.
- They will also ask you do a number of lab tests such as:
- Estrogen levels
- FSH levels
- LH levels
- Male hormone (testosterone) levels
- Fasting glucose and other tests for glucose intolerance and insulin resistance (Done: normal)
- Lipid levels
- Pregnancy test (serum HCG)
- Prolactin levels (Done: normal)
- Thyroid function tests (Done: normal)
- Lose weight by exercising regularly, eat heart-healthy foods.
- Doctors may prescribed medicines: birth control pills, metformin and fertility pills. Birth control pills can help your periods be regular and can reduce symptoms such as excess facial hair and acne. An androgen-lowering medicine, spironolactone, may be used with birth control pills to help reduce symptoms even more. These medicines are not used if you are trying to get pregnant. Metformin can help restore regular menstrual cycles and fertility. Fertility pills if you are trying to get pregnant.
- For your skin problems, better ask your dermatologist. Just like what I’ve been doing.
PCOS condition may vary, as for me my OB assured me that I can still get pregnant because my condition is not bad enough. But even so, I still wanted to treat my PCOS. I want to put my hormones back in order to reduce my weight and skin problems ceased. That’s my reason of treating my PCOS. I believed my OB when she said I can get pregnant again so I’m not worried on that part. Now on my first day of my menstrual cycle for the month of April, I’m taking my first birth control pills. Will share more of my journey in combating my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.